The college basketball season doesn’t really begin until we have our first major upset. Well, the college basketball season is here.
The 9th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers suffered the first shocking defeat of the young season, losing at home to Long Beach State, 86-76.
The 49ers became just the second non-Big East team to win inside Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events centre.
“They wanted it more than us,” the Panther’s Nasir Robinson said. “They worked harder. They ran harder. They got loose balls. They executed better than us. They outsmarted us.”
If you’re able to do all that, you’re liable to pull off a major upset. A feat Long Beach State’s coach, Dan Monson, said his team believed all along.
“We should expect to win,” Monson said about his Big West squad. “The hardest thing at a mid-major is believing you can go in and win a game like this. Everyone says they can go in and win, but these kids sincerely expected to win today, and I think that’s half the battle.”
Long Beach State’s Casper Ware hit four three-pointers to lead all scorers with a career-high 28 points, and distributed six assists. James Ennis filled the stat sheet with 19 points, six assists, five steals and four rebounds for the 49ers.
Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs, the Big East preseason player of the year, scored 20 points but was limited to 8-21 from the field.
The upset marks the beginning of an intimidating stretch for the 49ers. They’ll face Mountain West champion San Diego State, 13th-ranked Xavier, 12th-ranked Kansas, 8th-ranked Louisville and top-ranked North Carolina before Christmas.
It’s all part of Monson’s master plan.
“I told ’em the first meeting of the year that playing this schedule is unacceptable,” Monson said. “It’s time for the team to stop playing the toughest schedule and start competing against the toughest schedule.”
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